I can’t believe it. Today, February 2nd 2021, will forever be known as Watched This Horrible Anime Day. My dream of watching a god forsaken show worthy of giving a low-tier score has been fulfilled. I can finally drop out of the Leth’s Lounge Anime Exchange tournament. Others fought valiantly but I think just 3 shows in we can call it. A winner has been determined.
Seriously, I am 12 and just what is this. What is this show, and what does it want with us the viewer? Is this just some silly childhood story? If so, why did I fight to watch it with my very life?
Note – I’m a member of a Discord server called Leth’s Lazy Lounge, where we all did an “anime exchange” wherein all participants bring a show to the table, we all watch what we can during the week, and then we share our thoughts. Many participants shared one of their favorite shows. A few shared a show they just wanted to discuss, and a couple were apparently chosen just to mess with all participants. I’ll be taking all of these seriously. This is the third show of this exchange.
The Premise: There’s a schoolgirl and she fights people for five episodes. The heroic characters and the villian characters are pretty easily to determine because all the bad girls lose their shirts (and don’t wear bras, exposing their breasts) and all the good girls show their panties (and sometimes their bras). That’s it. That’s the premise. Opponents include a miko (shrine maiden) who strangely has the given name of “Miko”, a chemist teacher, a domineering stewardess, a mechanic dual wielding wrenches, a nurse, a lady cop who uses handcuffs as a weapon, etc.
These fights are strung along by a thin plot where a schoolgirl named Aya Iseshima finds herself entering a tournament while also trying to figure out what happened to the miko named Miko, whom everyone else insists never existed. There’s a plot twist towards the end that’s rather dark because of course. Mostly though, fights and torn clothing.
Why it Works: It’s only 5 episodes, roughly 2 and a half hours.
Why it Doesn’t Work: It’s a long freaking two hundred and ten minutes.
I’ll be honest, I went into this show thinking it would be dumb, but maybe a little fun. It was not fun. It was painful. I hate the person who recommended it. Like, why? In a past life did I kill your dog or something? Have I wronged you on a personal level? I’m sorry, whoever you are. I’ll try not to do it again, I promise.
I feel like this is the sort of show that would be best watching at a convention where people shouted at the screen. It’s… not good. It’s not even “so bad it’s good.” Like, the concept could have worked, as an opportunity to show off different women in outfits having a free-for-all with a convoluted dark history behind the competition, but execution is everything, and the only thing I wish that was executed better than this show was me before I started watching it.
The art style is rather generic, and the animation is extremely stilted. There are times I’m not even sure there’s more than 6 frames a second.
The opening theme is somehow both uninspired and pa pa pa pa phucking annoying, oh yay yay yay yay yay yay yay owe my eardrums.
There’s a lot of fan service. Most of it is inoffensive. Not all of it though. My least favorite scene is probably the most telling – in episode 2, Aya is late to gym class. She faces a one week suspension, but the teacher might overlook this transgression if she is willing to run 100 laps in a tight shirt and gym shorts. “Running a 100 laps in skin tight clothes while getting mind ogled by a creepy old coach?” Aya thinks to herself. And then we the viewers see her thinking about this, complete with tight clothes. It’s… pretty uncomfortable!
The fight scenes are not well choreographed. Each opponent has their own fighting style, and this fighting style will allow them to have the upper hand in the beginning, but then Aya will find a way around that fighting style and her punches will essentially strip her opponents of their clothing. The last set of fight scenes was above the show’s average, but still rather awful.
There’s some attempt at intrigue, but it was pretty obvious to me from the start that the main character was being set up. I mean, I guess there were elements to it that I didn’t see coming, but the whole affair was telegraphed about as poorly as the fight scenes themselves. In the end, we find out the truth about the tournament, and it’s just… overwrought. Laughing out loud at the fact the only named male character ends up being a primary antagonist, though.
Overall, this show was bad and its creators should feel bad. The less time I spend complaining about it, the sooner I can move on from it.
Master of Martial Hearts was produced by Studio Kikan and Shochiku; it was released stateside in 2010. I watched it on Amazon Prime, because I make poor decisions; it can also be watched as part of Funimation’s streaming service. But, like, don’t. Just, don’t.